Rethinking Success: Preparing Students for Today’s Workforce

Released: 27-Mar-2012 12:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Wake Forest University
Contact Information

Available for logged-in reporters only

Katie Neal, Wake Forest University, 336-758-6141, nealkc@wfu.edu

Newswise — From April 11-13, Wake Forest University will host “Rethinking Success: From the Liberal Arts to Careers in the 21st Century,” a national conference to examine issues related to the relevance and value of a liberal arts education to the workforce today.

Wake Forest is leading the conversation currently playing out around dining room tables, in corporate boardrooms and at the White House by engaging thought leaders in the professional world, higher education and career development, including:
• Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice;
• Former Proctor & Gamble Chairman A.G. Lafley;
• Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi (whose son is a philosophy major at Wake Forest);
• Neil Howe, best-selling author about Millennials and their role in society;
• Presidents, career office directors, liberal arts deans, and faculty from more than more than 40 colleges and universities – from Ivy League institutions to large public schools to small liberal arts colleges.

The purpose of the conference is to address whether higher education fulfills its role to intentionally prepare students for life after college and what can be done to ensure success.

Following the conference, participants will take action by crowdsourcing a roadmap to redefine how institutions can collectively better prepare students for life after college – something that can be implemented at individual schools to affect change on a national level.

"A liberal education without regard to career relevance is not enough. We must make personal and career development a mission-critical component of the college experience," said Andy Chan, Vice President of Personal and Career Development at Wake Forest. "Supporting faculty to connect their disciplines to the world of work will engage students and equip them to more deeply appreciate and effectively communicate the value and relevance of their educational experience."

The offices of the President, Provost, Dean of the College, and Personal and Career Development organized the event.

FAQ and additional information

Is the conference open to the public?
• Yes, but space is limited. People must register at rethinkingsuccess.wfu.edu.

Logistical details:
• Please visit rethinkingsuccess.wfu.edu for detailed schedule and panelist information.
• Unless otherwise specified, events will take place in Benson 401.
• Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s keynote address will take place in Wait Chapel on Wednesday, April 11, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
• Please contact the Wake Forest news office to obtain media credentials to any part of the conferences, including keynote speeches.
• The news office has many sidebar story ideas featuring students, Office of Personal and Career Development staff, faculty and parents. Several will be featured at news.wfu.edu in the days leading up to the event.

How can people not attending the conference participate?
• Engage in the conversation using the Twitter hashtag #RethinkingSuccess;
• Follow live blog coverage for real-time updates and news;
• Check out rethinkingsuccess.wfu.edu for additional information.

Why is “Rethinking Success” important?
• The transition from college to career has always been difficult for students, but the world of work has been fundamentally transformed.
• With the cost of education and the uncertainty of the job market, making choices about colleges, majors and careers feel like life-or-death decisions to students and their families. The stakes are higher than ever.

Which participants have North Carolina ties?
• Nathan O. Hatch, President, Wake Forest University;
• Carol E. Quillen, President, Davidson College;
• John D. McConnell, Chief Executive Officer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center;
• Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Dean of Wake Forest College, Wake Forest University;
• Andy Chan, Vice President of Personal and Career Development, Wake Forest University;
• Steve Nelson, Partner and Managing Director, Wakefield Group; Co-chair North Carolina Innovation Council;
• Eric Wiseman, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, VP Corporation and Wake Forest alumnus;
• Additional panelists and moderators from Wake Forest University;
• Attendees from Duke University, Elon University, Salem College, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Supporting data and research:
• Today’s jobs require higher standards for applicants – The March 2012 Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey of chief financial officers projects increased hiring which will bring the national unemployment rate below eight percent by the end of the year. However, nearly half of the employers actively trying to fill vacant positions are struggling to find qualified applicants.
• Liberal educations = career preparation – A November 2011 study released by the Annapolis Group reported that 76 percent of liberal arts college graduates rated their college experience highly for preparing them for their first job, compared to 66 percent who attended public flagship universities. It is one of few studies that explore the lasting effects of college in such areas as career preparation and advancement.
• The liberal arts are under attack – According to a study published by Roger Baldwin, an education professor at Michigan State University, the number of liberal arts colleges dropped from 212 in 1990 to 136 in 2009. The trend is continues downward as students seek higher education alternatives perceived to lead to a job more directly.
• Asian countries have upped the ante – China, Singapore, South Korea and other Asian countries are investing in liberal curricula in the hopes of developing nimble, adaptable and creative thinkers. Meanwhile, American politicians have fueled fear and pessimism by questioning the value of college – and especially the liberal education – both in terms of cost and content, trumpeting the need for a technically skilled workforce as a solution to the floundering economy.

About Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at www.wfu.edu.


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